Not Just A Day Dream

The following is a post from James Metsger, Lead Pastor at Renaissance Bible Church. James currently serves as Chairman on our Board of Directors at Dream On 3. Thank you James!

Not Just A Day Dream 

We love events. “Circle your calendar!” “The big game is on at 4!” “The concert starts at 8.” “The show begins at 6.” Events have a designated starting time. For the most part, we know when they end. They are clearly defined and measurable. We get excited about big events. We should. Events make for great memories. You remember the concert your drove across country for in college. You remember the game you snuck into as a kid. You remember the first date, graduation, or wedding day. Events are memorable, but they are also momentary. Eventually the music stops. Soon you go from passing classes to paying for classes. The wedding party is over and the hard work of marriage beings. What I’ve grown to love about Dream on 3 is that it’s not just a day dream.

 Dream on 3 makes dreams come true for children with chronic illnesses, developmental disabilities, or life-altering conditions by creating experiences of joy and magic through the world of sports. They “do” the event and they do it well! Yankee Stadium? Yes! Charlotte Motor Speedway? Start your engines! Miami Heat? They’ve experienced the Heat wave! What’s not to love about an event that brings joy to the heart of a child and his or her family? There’s nothing like seeing inexpressible joy on a child’s face when their dream comes true. I love serving with a great team of high caliber people. I love sports. I can’t play them, at least not well, but I love them. I love the perseverance and the passion of the founders of a great organization. I love the hoopla and excitement of the big day. I love seeing pictures and watching a video that captures the day forever. I love the opportunities they provide for kids that often don’t qualify for other wish granting organizations. But what I love the most is that when a family wakes up from their dream, Dream on 3 is still there. 

I love the event, but Dream on 3 is about more than the event. They are about more than making a day, they are about making a difference. Dream on 3 is about a process. It’s a process of finding a child whose life has been altered by an unwanted and uninvited guest. It’s a process of understanding the challenges a family faces. It’s the process of figuring out how to serve a family when they balloons float away, the confetti is swept away, and the team walks away.

What I love about this organization are the things no one else will ever see. I love hearing about the phone calls that come from grateful parents months after the event has ended. I love knowing that a mom can call Elizabeth, the Director of Operations and Programming, and tell her she had a rough day. I love that Brandon, the Founder and Executive Director, can attend a little league game where the only cameras aren’t from the press, but from the parents. I love that the ones leading the organization don’t just help Dreams come true, but they are there when the dream events are over and the process of life continues.

-James Metsger, Renaissance Bible Church  

Board of Directors Chairman for Dream On 3

James Metsger

 

Don’t forget to purchase your tickets for our upcoming Dream Gala on March 29th! 

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“That Beautiful May Day”

Hey Dreamers! We have a special treat to share with you today. 

Below is a paper written by Morgan Batley. Morgan is big sister to Nicholas, our 1st Dream Kid. Morgan and the rest of Nicholas’ family joined Nicholas in his NASCAR dream earlier this year. She is an NC Scholar and Honors Graduate from Mooresville High School. (Wow!) She is currently a Freshman at Appalachian State University (Go APP!) 

Someday Morgan would like to (somewhat) freelance work for sports channels like ESPN or Fox Sports primarily because of her brother’s huge interest in sports. She believes it would be interesting if her brother got to be a commentator while she works along side him behind the scenes to make watching sports enjoyable for all fans. 

We were honored when Morgan chose to write about DO3 for a class and we want to share her talents and story with you! Enjoy! 

1, 2, 3, Dream!

Excitement and anxiety filled the ranch-style building that I called my home. It was the day something extraordinary was going to happen, the day a boy’s dream would come true. My autistic brother, Nicholas, watched the clock, counting down every minute and every second, as the time grew nearer. All dressed in our favorite driver’s shirts, we waited for that call that would signal the beginning of an amazing day. My entire family, including myself, tried distracting ourselves by watching TV or playing on our computer to keep ourselves from manning the window.

Then the knock came. We all jumped up, hearts pounding and huge smiles on our face for we knew it had begun.  Brandon, cofounder of a new charity organization, greeted us at

Dream Kid Nicholas and Family receive their DO3 shirts!

Dream Kid Nicholas and Family receive their DO3 shirts!

the door, giving us shirts with the group’s logo printed on the front. After each receiving a shirt, we quickly replaced our racing tees with the new bright colored shirts. Once we had changed, Brandon told us to come outside to see how we would be getting to the racetrack. The May sunshine greeted us with immense warmth, but the excitement and eagerness pumping through my whole family easily defeated the feeling of heat.

Nicholas' friends and family members pour out of the limo to surprise him (Photo Cred: Themba Imagery)

Nicholas’ friends and family members pour out of the limo to surprise him
(Photo Cred: Themba Imagery)

As we waited, I searched around anxiously, seeing what would happen. I remember hearing my heart pounding in my chest as I tried to hide my overwhelming emotions. After what seemed to be an eternity, I heard my brother scream out, “Oh my Lord!” We all turned to see a huge, white limousine heading down the street towards us with its hazard lights on, and then it pulled off into the grass on our yard. As soon as the huge vehicle came to a stop, the door opened and out came a few family friends to greet Nicholas. My brother was greeted with massive amounts of hugs and given gifts that people had made for this special day.

The group before Nicholas' Dream Experience! (Photo Cred: Themba Imagery)

The group before Nicholas’ Dream Experience!
(Photo Cred: Themba Imagery)

As everyone mingled amongst each other, I looked down the street to see two police chargers, one an undercover and the other a normal patrol car, heading towards us with their lights on. The first thought in my head was that we were in trouble for obstructing traffic because the limo was not fully off the road. My fear was replaced with excitement when they took their places in front of and behind the limousine and then got out to greet us. I suddenly realized the purpose of the police being there – a police escort to the race. I honestly could not tell you who was more excited about the escort, my brother or myself.

1…2…3..Dream! All hands in! (Photo Cred: Themba Imagery)

1…2…3..Dream! All hands in!
(Photo Cred: Themba Imagery)

We all felt as if we were on top of the world at that point. Brandon called us together before take off and asked my brother to do the cheer. We all stuck our hands in the middle of our group and my brother started. “1, 2, 3, Dream!”

Our adventure continued as we made our way towards the racetrack in Concord. The drive to the track seemed to fly by as we were escorted through traffic lights and around cars. We watched the police officers replace each other as we moved from county to county, changing jurisdiction. As we got closer to the track, we passed by the massive grass and gravel filled fields where thousands of fans gathered to camp out and tailgate before the afternoon’s race. Everyone stopped and stared at the tinted windows to try to see who we were. It made me feel special to be able to drive by everyone and have them stop in their tracks to stare as we passed.

Nicholas' sister Morgan gets her VIP pass! (Photo Cred: Themba Imagery)

Nicholas’ sister Morgan gets her VIP pass!
(Photo Cred: Themba Imagery)

Once we got to the track, we were handed our credentials, making us feel like VIPs. These credentials granted us access for the rest of the day to all the surprises that were planned for our family.

Once we were dropped off in the infield, we made our way towards the motorhomes where all the big name “celebrities” stayed for the race. As we turned the corner, I nearly stopped where I was as I could feel my heart skip a beat. Coming towards us on a golf cart was a racing legend that I have always wanted to meet. The black cowboy hat, dark sunglasses, and a pair of murky brown cowboy boots confirmed the figure in front of me. I pointed him out to my brother, trying to get him as excited as I was. A huge grin spread on his face as he recognized the iconic figure, exclaiming happily “It’s the King!” Everyone else turned just in time to see Richard Petty drive by us giving a slight wave and a bright white smile.

Racing King Richard Petty gives a wave. (Photo Cred: Themba Imagery)

Racing King Richard Petty gives a wave.
(Photo Cred: Themba Imagery)

We continued walking as he passed and came to a stop at a large, black motorhome. View More: http://thembaimagery.pass.us/dreamon3Leading to the door was a brick sidewalk with the letters “D.W.” engraved in one of the bricks, as well as a wooden sign that had “Darrell Waltrip” written along the surface of it. As we walked down the path, his driver went inside the gigantic vehicle and left us to wait anxiously for his appearance. A figure opened the door and my brother screamed out, “Darrell Waltrip! Hi, buddy,” and ran to give him a giant bear hug. He talked about several things with Nicholas, including remember seeing him at a local baseball charity game. Nicholas’s dream definitely came true when he was able to say Darrell Waltrip’s famous starting phrase with the creator, “Boogity, Boogity, Boogity! Let’s go racing boys and Danica!”

Dream Kid Nicholas has fun with his idol, Darrell Waltrip (Photo Cred: Themba Imagery)

Dream Kid Nicholas has fun with his idol, Darrell Waltrip
(Photo Cred: Themba Imagery)

Nicholas and his sister pose with Duck Dynasty's Willie Robertson

Nicholas and his sister pose with Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson

After spending time with Darrell Waltrip, taking pictures and getting autographs, we made our way back to one of the garage buildings in the center of the grassy infield. As soon as we stepped inside, we were greeted with a wave of cool air from the air conditioning that was being pumped into the concrete building. Rows of chairs filled roughly half of the rectangular garage. As we moved closer to the front of the chairs, I realized that we would be some of the lucky few to actually be able to sit in at a driver’s meeting. Many different celebrities began filling the room and we were able to get some autographs from several people. My brother and I even got our picture taken with Willie Robertson from the TV show, Duck Dynasty.

Nicholas gets a hug from Governor Pat McCrory

Nicholas gets a hug from Governor Pat McCrory (Photo Cred- Themba Imagery)

After that, I spotted a very important man in our state government, Governor McCrory. Originally, I had no interest in our politics, but after seeing how he interacted with my brother, I had changed my mind-set. Not only was Governor McCrory nice to Nicholas, he took time from greeting other fans to actually interact with my brother, giving him hugs and telling him how much he had made the governor’s day.

Following the meeting, we met with a group of people representing Sprint who had even more surprises in store for us. They led us towards the front stretch of the track, where you could see the air writhe and squirm along the hot asphalt. We arrived onto the pits where every driver’s team was set up and ready for the upcoming race.View More: http://thembaimagery.pass.us/dreamon3

Nicholas and sister Morgan watch as the Drivers come off stage.

Nicholas and sister Morgan watch as the Drivers come off stage. (Photo Cred- Themba Imagery)

Spending very little time on the pits, we were rushed towards the stage where the announcers would introduce the drivers according to their starting position. For these ceremonies, we were standing at the bottom of the stairs, just off the stage where the driver’s walked before they climbed onto their truck to do their parade lap. It took a little while for the introductions to start, which only added to the excitement levels that everyone was trying to control. As all the drivers made their way across the stage and down the stairs, we were given high-fives from nearly all forty-three drivers. What made that event special was when Nicholas got to high-five the driver of the twenty-four Chevrolet and his favorite driver, Jeff Gordon. I have never seen him smile so wide before and, as a result, it brought tears to my eyes. This was part two of his dream that he wanted to come true.

Nicholas and his sister Morgan celebrate after high-fiving Jeff Gordon! (Photo Cred: Themba Imagery)

Nicholas and his sister Morgan celebrate after high-fiving Jeff Gordon!
(Photo Cred: Themba Imagery)

View More: http://thembaimagery.pass.us/dreamon3Once the introductions were finished, we were whisked off in a golf cart towards the suites above the racetrack and general admission seating. My family and I were led towards a suite with Sprint’s logo plastered among the doors. I truly felt like the most important person in the world at that moment because we would be watching the race in a stylish and air conditioned suite with free food and drinks. Sprint rented out two large connected suites that only the top employees could get into, like the CEO and his family. It truly was nice to be able to get a viewpoint from higher than you would in the stands, plus the option of watching it on the television screens. My brother was so excited to be able to watch the race from above and be able to freely commentate the race without people giving him odd looks. The race was long, especially when a camera malfunctioned and broke, hitting a car, which caused NASCAR to stop the race for what seemed like an eternity. After the officials got it sorted out, we went back to watching the race.

Nicholas and his family enjoy the race in style. (Photo Cred- Themba Imagery)

Nicholas and his family enjoy the race in style.
(Photo Cred- Themba Imagery)

When it was all over, the four of us were exhausted. We got back to the limousine and said our goodbyes to Brandon and the crew as we climbed into the darkened interior of the vehicle. Everyone had a blast and surely something as spectacular and adventure-filled day like this would never be forgotten. To this day, I can still hear my brother exclaim, “This is the best day of my life!” with the same amount of excitement and happiness that he had on that beautiful May day. I can not thank Brandon and the Dream On 3 organization enough for making my brother’s dream come true, and for allowing me to share with him.View More: http://thembaimagery.pass.us/dreamon3

-Morgan Batley, Sister of Dream Kid Nicholas

Morgan with her brother Nicholas

Morgan with her brother Nicholas

Watch the video of Nicholas’ Dream Experience!

Learn more about Dream On 3 here

-We need YOUR help to make more Dreams come true! Please consider donating money or miles here

Happy Birthday Dream On 3! (Part 2)

In this post, Martha and Danny Borrell talk about DO3’s first year. We’ve come so far in such a short time! We couldn’t have done it without the support of our friends, family, and community. 
1. Looking back over the last year what were your favorite or most rewarding

Dream Kid Zasheed takes in his Dream Photo Cred- Themba Imagery

Dream Kid Zasheed takes in his Dream
Photo Cred- Themba Imagery

moments?

Danny– By far my most rewarding moment was being there for the Zebulon and Zasheed Dream Experience.  It is hard to pick just one point in time, but I would have to say it was when Zasheed stepped foot onto the field at Yankee Stadium.  To see his face as he turned and looked up into the upper deck and around the stadium was priceless.  We witnessed a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.  His face will be forever etched into my mind.

Martha– The sincere joy on the faces of each Dream Kid.  The happiness they exuded and graciousness for being selected and experiencing their sports dream.  Specifically, Zasheed’s ‘Thank You’ on the video from the Yankee experience.  He was so genuine with those two words!
Photo cred- Themba Imagery View more at http://thembaimagery.com

Photo cred- Themba Imagery
View more at http://thembaimagery.com

2. What surprised you the most along the way?
Danny– While we did face some obstacles during the preparation phase of each dream experience, it was amazing how each experience pieced itself together seamlessly.  Whether it was Joe Cox at Elegant Transportation selflessly donating the entire 2 day limo service or our flights being upgraded to 1st class, it seemed as if there was divine intervention that helped us make sure that each experience was worthy of the child’s wish.
 Martha– The toughest / most frustrating thing is that because I live out of state I have not been able to attend any of the dream experiences.
3. Do you wish anything had gone differently?
Danny-  Yes… I feel terrible that Sunny and Donald did not get to go onto the field during batting practice at Yankee Stadium.  It was such a great experience for everyone involved but we had to leave 2 behind because of tight security.  But, I think that as we get more Dream Experiences under our belt, we are learning how to streamline the process. 
4. What is your favorite part of a Dream Experience?

Danny- I love hearing the athlete / team / agent reaction to each child’s wish.  These athletes get requests everyday, ranging from autographs to interviews, to anything in between.  But when you introduce them to the Dream Kid, it is amazing to see how they interact with each other.  Professional athletes sometimes get a bad rap, but put them in front of a child who is in need of some good fortune and roles change:  the athlete looks up to the dream recipient, not the other way around.
Martha– Because I have not been able to be at a Dream Experience, I love looking at the pictures and videos that are posted on line. 
5. Describe a moment that you were worried something wouldn’t go as planned:

Danny: I worry every dream experience that something won’t go as planned.  I try not to, but you want so badly for these kids to enjoy their Dream Experience to the fullest!
6. What are you most excited about for the future of DO3?
Danny: In the future I am most excited about meeting more DO3 kids and granting their sports’ wishes!
Martha:  More dreams being fulfilled.  Being able to experience first hand, a child’s dream being granted.  The growth and expansion of DO3.  
-Martha and Danny Borrell, Co-Founders of DO3
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Learn more about Dream On 3 at dreamon3.org 

One Year Later

A year ago this month, we decided to start Dream On 3.  We had no idea what we were doing and knew nothing about running a charitable organization.  Through the loving support of our family and friends and by seeking out the Lord’s guidance and wisdom, we are proud to say that we have survived year 1!
Here are some of the things I learned about running a non-profit.
Lessons Learned in Year 1:

10) When you’re not paying someone, you can’t simply go after their hands and backs…you have to get their hearts!

9) Don’t measure success by immediate reactions or outward signs of gratitude….you may not always get it.
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Photo Cred: Themba Imagery

8) Everybody knows somebody! We are so thankful that we know people that know people.
7) Forget your pride and everything you were ever taught about talking to people about money.  If you don’t ask….you don’t get!
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Photo Cred: Themba Imagery

6) Non-profits are competing for the same dollars as for-profit businesses, but are expected to play by a different set of rules.
5) People are good!  Given the chance to lend a helping hand or make a difference in their community…99.9% of people would say they will help.
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Photo Cred: Themba Imagery

4) 2-3% of those people will actually take the time or steps required to get involved.  This is especially true of us southerners (myself included).  We really do mean well…bless our hearts!
View More: http://thembaimagery.pass.us/dreamon3

Photo Cred: Themba Imagery

3) Believe it or not….sometimes the story relayed by the media is not exactly the story you were trying to tell.
2) No one understands hope and faith better than a child.
1) God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers.
-Brandon Lindsay, Founder of Dream On 3 
BJ with gift2
Thank you to all of our friends and family who have helped us along the way, we couldn’t do it without you!
Learn more about Dream On 3 at www.dreamon3.org. Visit our “Ways to Help” page to see ways you can help us make more dreams come true!